The pandemic has shown that technology is key not only to keeping us securely connected and productive but also to keep essential functions of civic life and democracy moving during disruptions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, local and national government institutions are responding and adapting by pivoting to deliver services and continue the business of governing, remotely. To support governmental organizations with these business resiliency efforts, Cisco is announcing solutions to enable justice systems and legislative bodies worldwide to continue their critical functions.
The new solutions combine the power of Cisco technology, including Cisco Webex video conferencing, with expertise and innovation from Cisco Customer Experience (CX) and the Cisco partner ecosystem. To speed access to these tools, Cisco’s Public Funding Office has increased capacity to help customers and partners navigate funding sources and accelerate projects that help them serve their communities through the pandemic.
These new solutions bring secure delivery of virtual government services across multiple platforms of previously disparate technology to provide greater efficiencies, reduce cost associated with travel, while keeping the public safer. Prior to COVID, many governing bodies were legally required to meet in-person, and the shift to remote has been a new experience for many. Now, according to a new Cisco survey, over 50% of government workers expect to work remotely eight or more days per month. Governing bodies worldwide need to deliver seamless collaboration for their fully remote and hybrid legislative bodies, enabling them to convene safely and securely – while adhering to procedures steeped in law and tradition.
Webex Legislate is a new secure, purpose-built cloud solution that extends Webex’s built-in security and privacy capabilities. The new solution meets the highly specialized requirements of global legislatures, providing a “better than being there” experience to give legislators the same capabilities as on the chamber or parliamentary floor, while attending sessions from their regions and remaining close to the citizens they represent. The new solution provides support for:
- Legislators, by delivering an integrated experience that provides the video conferencing experience they already know via a new dashboard for all the governing business required in hearings and floor debates and votes. For example, it:
- Allows legislatures the ability to debate and vote on legislation in accordance with their rules, procedures, and norms via customized voting features
- Enables secure sidebar rooms that mimic the conversations legislators have in caucus or on the floor. These rooms can be ad hoc or permanent
- Offers simultaneous interpretation and closed captioning making it easy for legislative sessions to be conducted in multiple languages
- Moderators, by enabling complete customization so Webex Legislate will allow for the unique rules, procedures, and roles of each legislative body. That means appropriate permissions are given to committee chairs, speakers, legislators, staff, citizens, press and so on. The solution also provides timers, detailed mute controls and more to easily manage orderly proceedings.
Designed to meet Legislative security needs, the solution enables:
- Single sign-on with multifactor authentication
- Visual and verbal verification with secure lobby admission to verify the identity of voting members
- Chain of custody for all procedures, including voting
- Anonymous or customized voting, with detailed statistics by party and voter
Webex Legislate was funded and co-developed by Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, in conjunction with Irish systems integrator and Cisco partner, Davra. The Cisco CDA program, which is active in 37 countries around the world, delivers sustainable digital solutions in collaboration with national and local government leaders to address real societal problems. The CDA program provides Cisco partners a unique opportunity to co-develop and co-innovate technology solutions that align with national digital agendas around the world. Webex Legislate is an example of how partners can use the Webex software development kit to develop custom applications on top of Webex to help accelerate their customers cloud adoption.
Additionally, Cisco has achieved Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) authority to operate for Webex calling, meeting, and messaging solutions, allowing U.S. federal employees and contractors to experience the work-from-anywhere benefits of cloud collaboration while meeting stringent government requirements. These capabilities will soon be available in a single Webex app, making it easy for users to escalate messages into calls or video conferences, and share content on room video devices. Learn more here.
Cisco’s Connected Justice solution is the first standards-based video solution to deliver comprehensive, connected professional services to courts, correctional facilities and community corrections. Covid-19 made delivering critical services without physical contact essential. Cisco partners Cloverhound and TRACKtech have customized connected solutions for partners to be able to order that align to the three pillars of justice-courts, corrections, and community supervision. This solution enhances collaboration across agencies, maintains daily operations and can help reduce recidivism.
The new solution provides support for:
- Brings courtroom participants together via real-time video creating a safe and secure environment
- Offers the courts the ability to hold virtual hearings with an integrated docket dashboard that identifies a virtual lobby and side rooms, via partner Cloverhound. This brings extra efficiencies and accelerates court activities
- Support for managing the hybrid court with physical attendees in a court hearing so a judge can see both virtual and in-person participants
- Correctional Facilities:
- Provides seamless virtual visitation services via simplified workflow and user experience. New custom designed scheduling software from Cisco CX is built for this specific environment
- Increases and simplifies remote access to critical services such as court appearances, telehealth services and distance learning
- Community Corrections:
- Helps government agencies better reduce recidivism by delivering rehabilitative support and supervision, via a new mobile advanced supervision and integrated case management solution from Cisco partner TRACKtech
- New mobile solution provides increased caseload efficiency by notifying staff members of incompliance allowing them to spend their time where it is needed most
- Simplifies delivery of essential support services such as remote check-ins, teletherapy recovery and behavioral health counseling and homeless services
- For example, using Webex Teams integrated with TRACKtech products, one major US judicial district was able to increase caseload productivity by visiting 3x more clients in a day with virtual home visits
- In addition, by utilizing Cisco’s video end points with TRACKtech, the judicial district was able to save the equivalent of their entire annual fleet management budget
“The beauty of Cisco’s courtroom technology, using Webex and the underlying secure infrastructure, is that the public now sees virtual courtrooms as a way to keep the wheels of justice turning, not only during Covid-19, but beyond,” said Elkhart County Director of Information Technology Matthew Dietz. “For judges is it was easy to use and serves our citizens efficiently—allowing people to take a 15-minute break to attend a hearing instead of spending a half-day in court.”
Increased Funding Office Expertise
Government funding to support Covid-19 response efforts is available. This year, Cisco doubled its expert team to help ensure business continuity of government globally by assisting customers to navigate the programs and processes. Cisco experts can help customers navigate the process of securing funding by helping identify potential funding sources for projects. Together the expanded team brings decades of expertise and has supported thousands of customers through this process.